I am Joel Jensen, Born into this world in 1999 with two rare eye conditions known as Aniridia and Peters Anomaly.
At just two weeks old I had major surgery to have a corneal graft on my left eye. The corneal graft was an organ donation from a 74 year old.
I have been drawing for as long as I can remember and my passion for art has grown. I have become artistically talented throughout the duration of my High School years and I pride myself in my creativity and imagination.
I hope to share my perspective with the world through my Art.
Wagga artist Joel Jensen produces sketch art book despite visual impairment.






















Joel Jensen is changing the way the world thinks of both art and the artist.

Despite being born blind with two rare eye conditions, Aniridia and Peter's Anomaly, Jensen has a keen eye for detail when it comes to creating sketches.

"I've been doing art for practically forever but have become quite good in the last three or four years," The 19-year-old said.

"All the ideas are from my imagination, sometimes I might look at a picture and recreate it but all the little details are completely imagination based."

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After years of hard work, Jensen has just released a picture book compiling close to 100 pieces of his art under the title JAJ Blind Perspective Art.

"It's taken about six months to actually put the book together," he said.

"It's been the best thing I've ever done."

Jensen got into art more professionally through Wagga's Rabbit Books.

"It was more so just to boost my confidence, I got in touch with the gallery in town and they helped me get a few things displayed," he said.

"In my case, you definitely do have to trust yourself a little bit."



One piece of work takes Jensen up to three or four hours, however he said he wasn't the type to go one by one.

"I always have heaps on the go," he said.

"I'm looking to branch out into more painting as well, and hopefully will release a second book soon - maybe even one every two years or so if I keep it up."

Along with merchandise like caps and t-shirts, Jensen's book can be purchased by the public through his Facebook page.

Joel Jensen giving sporting chance through lawn bowls

A chance encounter has opened up a world of opportunities for Joel Jensen.

Jensen was born blind but has taken up lawn bowls after bumping into Kevin Smith at the Wagga RSL Club a couple of months ago.


The pair had been working together to give the 19-year-old a grasp of the game.

Smith, who has been working with vision-impaired bowlers for over a decade, believes the Wagga teen has plenty of potential in the sport.

He's even talking about the prospect of competing for national and world championships.

Besides an attempt at go kart racing, it is the first time Jensen has been able to participate in sport.

He's really enjoying trying something different.

"I'm just the sort of person who likes to try new things all the time," Jensen said.

"It's been good fun.

"I'm loving it."

Jensen, who was born with two rare eye conditions, Aniridia and Peter's Anomaly, has blurred vision of about six feet in front of him.

It's something that is diminishing, but it still enables him to use cues from Smith to see what to aim at but the speed and length is completely up to him.

He rates trying to be consistent was the biggest challenge with the sport, something all bowlers can relate to.

There are four blind bowls divisions, each with their own titles at a state, national and world level, and pair need to work in partnership to deliver results.

"It's about communication, about sharing information, about working together and about trust," Smith said.

It's not just on the greens that Jensen is taking big steps.

He is also a budding artist plus does yard work for his father's company.

Smith believes it's a courageous step for Jensen to open himself up to a something completely different.

He's been thrilled not only with the promise his latest protege is showing but by how well he's been received by players in the Sunday morning social competition.

"He acquits himself well and people make him very welcome," Smith said.

Smith is open to helping any other vision impaired people take up the sport and anyone interest can contact the club.

Guide Dog etiquette: Joel Jensen reminds public not to distract working dogs

One Wagga man is reminding the public to respect the boundaries of working dogs.

Joel Jensen is legally blind and gets around with the support of his guide dog, Nicci, who has been by his side since July last year.

Read more: Joel Jensen giving sporting chance through lawn bowls

"I get a lot of people coming up to pat her even without asking," he said.

Mr Jensen said it was surprising to see how few people knew the rules of interacting with Nicci.

"A lot of people don't actually know you aren't allowed to pat her when she has her harness on, despite what you might think," he said.

The Albury branch of Guide Dogs NSW, which includes Wagga, has 36 guide dog handlers in the region.

Team manager of the Albury office, Bethia Sullivan, said people need to resist what may seem like a harmless pat.

"It's important to remember not to pat, distract or feed a dog when it is working, which is signified by a harness or coat on the dog," she said.

"We know it's hard and we all want to go up and give them a pat, but there's a lot of work that goes into the dog to be able to do their job so little things can often undo a lot of the hard work that went in to getting the dog to that point."


Ms Sullivan said aside from confusing the dog, it can be dangerous for the person too.

"If the dog is distracted it can be dangerous for the person with them in many situations, for instance when crossing a road and failing to alert their handler of oncoming traffic," she said.

The public are also being reminded to keep other dogs on a leash around guide dogs, and to alert the handler to your presence as well as giving them space.


Fri 20 April 2018

UPDATED: 10 FEB 2021